News Release, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission
The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, has released the third video in their “Farms in Focus” series that showcases Southern Maryland’s vibrant agricultural community.
SMADC’s latest video focuses on Value-Added Agriculture, and aims to give consumers an appreciation for the exciting products that stem from this section of the farming industry, as well as the economic and cultural benefits that they provide.
Value-added agriculture is defined as altering a raw agricultural product in a way to increase its value to bring more revenue to the farmer, producer or processor. Maryland is home to over 20 value-added agriculture sectors from grains and grapes (think beer, spirits and wine), fruits and veggies (jams, pickles, sauces), milk (ice cream, cheese), meats (bacon, charcuterie) to forestry (biofuels, paper), to name just a few.
SMADC’s new video shines a spotlight on the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity of six Southern Maryland producers and illustrates why they are inspired to produce their ever-growing inventory of value-added products.
A featured producer, Angel Forbes Simmons, sums-up the importance of value-added enterprise as integral to the financial success of her farm and keeps her bi-centennial farm self-sustaining.
According to the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) of Salisbury University, Maryland, and the newly released 2017 USDA Agricultural Census, Maryland’s Value-Added Agriculture industry supports close to 74,000 jobs and brings a total economic impact of over $20.6 billion annually to the state’s economy.
“When you take any raw agricultural ingredient and you run it through a value-added process, that makes it a more valuable and (we like to think) a much more tasty, fun product,” explains Kevin Atticks, founder and director of Grow & Fortify, also featured in the video. Atticks is enthusiastic about the growth of the industry and goes on to describe his vision, “So what’s in store for the future – Really interesting products; think truffle oil, think pasta made from local grains, think cider and mead, think specialty meats. The opportunities for local farmers and for local consumers are endless!”
Free to view on the SMADC YouTube channel, the “Farms in Focus” video series showcases Southern Maryland’s key agricultural industries using a combination of educational information and promotional marketing to bridge the knowledge gap between consumers and their local farmers. Look out for more videos coming in 2020 featuring Agritourism, Livestock, Produce, Nursery and Cut Flowers, Forestry and Seafood.
The “Farms in Focus” videos are made possible by a grant awarded to SMADC through the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund (RMPIF).